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Unique landfill project using treated biosolids completed

An innovative Melbourne Water project using biosolids to rehabilitate a Springvale South landfill site has been hailed a success.

The final truckload of clay-rich biosolids recently departed Melbourne Water’s Eastern Treatment Plant to drop its load at the Clarke Road complex in Springvale South, where it has been successfully used to fix and fill in the landfill site that had collapsed.

Melbourne Water’s General Manager Integrated Planning Chris Williams said about 924,000 tonnes of biosolids stockpiled at the Eastern Treatment Plant were beneficially reused to finish the project.

“For the past decade Melbourne Water has been investigating other ways to use these biosolids. This project was a perfect opportunity to do just that. 

“Some of the product has also been used in our own projects at the Eastern Treatment Plant, cheaply and effectively,” Mr Williams said.

Biosolids are the solid materials generated in the wastewater treatment process, separated from the liquid before being treated and dried.

The drying pans at ETP were originally lined with clay, which meant that every summer when the pans were harvested, an amount of clay was scrapped up and mixed with the biosolids.

ETP truck full of biosolids
Progress Earth director Craig Carter (left) and Melbourne Water Senior Project Engineer Bill Pemberton celebrate the last truckload of treated biosolids leaving the Eastern Treatment Plant. These biosolids have been used to rehabilitate a Springvale South landfill site.

Over the past few years Melbourne Water has added a protective layer of cement treated crushed concrete to the drying pans – allowing for harvested biosolids to be used more broadly such as for agricultural purposes.

The landfill rehabilitation project is being carried out by Progress Earth, an earthworks contracting business.

Progress Earth director Craig Carter said he was delighted to collaborate with Melbourne Water to deliver a suitable re-use solution for the biosolids within the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

“Considering it hadn’t been done before on this scale it was very pleasing to get the approvals in place and into the project. I think it has been a fantastic outcome for both Melbourne Water and the Clarke Road Landfill,” Mr Carter said.